When addressing the topic of ICT integration, particularly in an international context, it’s critical to consider both the pedagogical and cultural context. My experiences have shown that teacher-dominated behaviorist educational environments shape the way that technology is viewed and used in education. For a program to be successful we need to consider all the influences on ICT integration and, in particular, how many technologies (hardware and software) have embedded pedagogical approaches that may not be compatible with current teaching methods in specific countries.
An important concept to consider when integrating technology is the idea of building “communities of practice”. And communities of practice must take into consideration the idea that we have separated but related communities: teacher college faculties and pre-service teacher education candidates. In addition, larger communities of practice may be established that also include in-service teachers, students, educational administrators, researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders including the ministries of education
The focus on communities of practice is based on the need to build capacity among educators for continued learning, innovation, and adjustment. Rather than simply importing ideas and strategies from elsewhere, the goal is to help educators find what is most effective for the most important issues within their context. Accordingly, these communities will draw upon the expertise of those in other areas, and then adapt and apply those lessons to their country and community specific environments.
Teacher training and professional development is a very important issue for school systems and networks, particularly in the area of educational technology. Research has been shown that teachers who use technology effectively can have a positive impact on student learning and school performance. Teachers who learn to use technology as a part of a center of excellence have also been shown to become more effective in their use of technology, thus increasing the likelihood and degree of positive growth.
When considering the role of ICT in education we must never lose sight of the end goal – improved student outcomes.